From the New Haven Experience: Introduction


The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute has always encouraged both the partnership of institutions and the partnership of people of diverse backgrounds. The question of diversity and community has therefore been central to its work, as these statements by Yale faculty will indicate.

We excerpt here from Teaching in America: The Common Ground (1984) some paragraphs by Howard R. Lamar and Richard H. Brodhead. President Lamar has added to his selection some paragraphs from his present perspective. And we have added to this grouping an essay by Bryan Wolf. All three teachers have had long careers at Yale, one as a professor of History, the other two as professors of English and American Studies. Howard Lamar has also served as Dean of Yale College and as President of Yale University. Richard Brodhead is currently the Dean of Yale College. In the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, Lamar has led a seminar called "Remarkable City: New Haven in the Nineteenth Century" and another called "Studies in American Regions and Regionalism." Brodhead has led one on "Autobiography," and Wolf has led a series of seminars on American writing and painting. In different ways, they focus here on certain problems of "community"­local, state, and national­with which the Teachers Institute has been centrally engaged. And they offer ample testimony from university teachers and administrators concerning the value of such a collaborative program. Howard Lamar, an authority on the history of the American West, clearly learned much from his shared exploration of the history of New Haven. Richard Brodhead learned to help reinvent the terms on which his shared field can be communicated with others. And Bryan Wolf found a space for his own version of an experimental classroom, through which he learned how to address the richness of racial and ethnic cultural traditions in the United States.


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